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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Dunn County is considering changes to Chapter 13.6.0 of the county’s comprehensive zoning ordinance that could make it more difficult for someone to obtain a rezone to build a house.
The changes to the comprehensive zoning ordinance would require applicants for a rezone to supply a list of information, including a detailed site plan with information about floodplain, wetlands, surface water and shore land, along with existing and proposed drainage features.
The Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee planned to hold a public hearing on the proposed changes to the rules for rezones on February 12.
The new rules would apply to any rezone, such as agriculture to commercial, or from agriculture to residential, or from industrial to commercial, or agriculture to industrial, but would also apply to a landowner seeking a rezone to build only one house.
The Town of Red Cedar objected to the proposed new rules as being too restrictive for residential development in Dunn County, especially if a rezone was required to build a single house.
Bob Colson, Dunn County zoning administrator, said the county wants to be able to look at a rezone request with enough information to make a good decision.
The existing section of the comprehensive zoning ordinance pertaining to rezones does not ask for any information.
The letter from the Town of Red Cedar, signed by Bob Cook, Supervisor 2 on the Red Cedar Town Board, states, “Our town board feels that most of the proposed amendments to Chapter 13 relate specifically to rezones with respect to land acquired for major subdivisions and possibly, minor subdivision, and therefore, should be separated or required only when necessary for certain petitions.”
According to the letter from the Town of Red Cedar, the proposed changes would require information that would be difficult for a landowner wishing to build one house to obtain or information that would be expensive to obtain.
The proposed changes to Dunn County’s comprehensive zoning ordinance, for example, would require a site plan.
According to the proposed change, the site plan must include “north arrow, date, scale, (not less than 1 inch = 200 feet), property boundary with dimensions, existing zoning districts within one-quarter (¼) mile of the parcel(s), hydrologic features within three-hundred (300) feet of the parcel(s) including: floodplain, wetland, surface water and shore land, existing and proposed drainage features within three-hundred (300) feet of the proposal including: size, location and direction of flow, and easements within three-hundred (300) feet of the parcel(s).”
The letter from the Town of Red Cedar states requiring “a site plan with scaling, boundaries, dimensions, hydrologic features, including floodplain, wetland, surface water and shore land, drainage features, etc., which are standard requirements for subdivisions and should not be a requirement for every application (petition) as it would be costly and difficult for a regular property owner to obtain this document and information.”
The proposed ordinance also would require a description of how the proposal for a rezone is consistent with the Land Use Element and other relevant Element(s) of the Dunn County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
The letter from the Town of Red Cedar states, “The county zoning department should provide a description of how the proposal is consistent with the Land Use Element and any other relevant Element(s) of the Dunn County Comprehensive Plan. Further, how would a property owner know what ‘any other relevant element’ is? Who defines ‘relevant,’ the property owner or the county?”
The proposed changes to Dunn County’s zoning ordinance pertaining to rezones also would require “an explanation of why the current zoning district is not appropriate; a description of the effects the rezone would have in relation to issues such as traffic, public safety, environmental impacts and/or protection and conservation of natural resources; a list of the zoning districts within the proposal, length of the time the subject property has been vacant, zoning districts and land use of all properties within one-quarter (¼) mile the proposal; a description of development trends within the general vicinity of the proposal, including any developments to the proposal since it was placed in its current zoning district; a description of the effects of the rezone on the health, safety and welfare to adjacent landowners and to the county as a whole; a description of any anticipated or known changes to property values to adjacent landowners.”
The proposed ordinance states the zoning administrator or the Planning, Resources and Development Committee may also require a person asking for a rezone to provide additional information, such as written approval from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the county highway department or the township authorizing the construction or access to a driveway and/or intersections within the jurisdiction associated with the rezone request.
In addition, the zoning administrator or the PR&D Committee could require for a rezone request written statements from emergency service providers, such as the local fire department, police and ambulance, describing how the rezone would impact the ability to provide emergency services.
If the Planning, Resources and Development Committee were to approve the changes to the rules for a rezone, the Dunn County Board would have to adopt the proposed amendment to the Dunn County comprehensive zoning code before the changes could go into effect.